People tend to think they can just go in front of a Buddha statue make a prayer and receive bodhicitta. That is not the reality of bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is literally really wanting to transfer your happiness or your peacefulness to sentient beings and accepting their suffering to yourself. Even if you cannot do that much, having that intention in your heart is necessary. That is bodhicitta. People think that having bodhicitta is a little like trying to follow everything that it says in the texts, trying to be perfect. Bodhicitta is not about being perfect. Bodhicitta is about an individual with strength, courage and continuity. That defines the reality of bodhicitta. It comes down to the quality of the practitioner. If you don’t have certain qualities, you cannot express or have the courage to benefit ordinary people. You will have neither the courage nor inspiration.
As you continue with the journey there will be certain natural realizations and then you will be able to benefit others. Some people I have met have said, “Ah, Rinpoche, I practiced this and practiced that and now I really, really want to help other people.” When you are in a hurry to help other people, it doesn’t work. Just continue with your own practice and the benefit will develop naturally without forcing anything from your side. The moment you have to use force and strength to push yourself to benefit others then you are going in the opposite direction of bodhicitta. You are not realizing enough truth and yet you are putting your head in the sand. When you realize the truth with the nature of mind, with compassion and honesty, then the benefit to sentient beings will be your natural reaction towards all the circumstances that you will face. This is the practical way of explaining about bodhicitta.
From my first book < I Am a Lost and Found Buddhist >
Love and respect from your Kalu Rinpoche